Microsoft ends support for its Windows XP operating system in about a week, and many organisations have not upgraded. More than half of the UK's councils and most of the world's cash machines run on the platform.
But it can take months, or in some cases years, for organisations to migrate everything to a new OS.
A huge number of organisations are still using XP and once Microsoft stops supporting it next week, they will find themselves with gaping security holes.
It is likely that hackers are already planning attacks to exploit these vulnerabilities. Unless some kind of action is taken now, anyone operating XP should be concerned.
While anti-virus software and firewalls are the basic line of defence, they won't be able to stop everything – particularly as they already struggle to keep up when it comes to zero-day exploits.
It is therefore imperative that other controls are put in place that can address this new weakness. One effective measure would be to implement protective monitoring tools that provide complete visibility into the network.
Not only can this strategy be implemented with relative speed, but as these solutions alert on any suspicious activity immediately, organisations are in a far better position to react and contain the threat before it causes any lasting damage.
Cyberattacks against businesses are already 10 a penny. Therefore there is no excuse not to increase defences when there is a growing security threat, especially as they have been forewarned.
In the long term, the only answer is to upgrade to a new OS. In the short term, businesses can compensate by deploying tools that help them know exactly what is happening on the network at all times.
Most organisations should consider it a case of when they are breached, rather than if. And running XP without extra protection in place is simply going to make the "when" occur faster.
Ross Brewer is vice president and managing director for international markets at LogRhythm
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